Dry stone walling...in the wet
Published: 27 January 2016
Careful conservation work has been going on in our 18th century walled garden - despite this wet weather.
Gary Grover, from Torbay Stone Walling has replaced a rotting timber lintel in the doorway to the garden.
Plus he's been dealing with damage done over the decades by roots and plants, and repointing the walls with lime mortar, as used in Georgian times.
According to Gary, he and his company are specialists in authentic stone wall repairs, eschewing today's concrete for yesterday's lime.
"It's not as strong as cement, but it doesn't need to be," he said. "And it doesn't look grey. It is mixed with coarse sand so it's in keeping with the original.""Lime mortar looks nicer and it's breathable for the wall," said Gary. "It can expand and contract small amounts, allowing for movement. And it can re-heal when cracking.
Gary's been at Sharpham for just under a fortnight and he and his team have worked on the river wall at the Bathing House, on rebuilding the North Quay, alterations in the courtyard, work on flagstones and general masonry about the property.
So what's he think of working at Sharpham? "It's lovely, relaxing, quiet – the opposite of a building site!" he said.
Has he been meditating during his work?
"I don't have time for that! But my work is sometimes therapeutic. But it's sometimes stressful too!"